Will Licia Ronzulli Gesture Get Us Better Maternity Leave?

Amy Keyishian

Licia Ronzulli
Ronzulli's first day of work
Who wouldn’t love this? An Italian politician named Licia Ronzulli had an important vote at the European parliament this week regarding women’s rights in the workplace. But she had a 7-week-old infant that, presumably, she didn’t want to leave for long in case she had to nurse.

So she did what I would do in a heartbeat: strapped the kid to her in a Moby and went to work. She claims she didn’t expect so much attention. Do I believe that? No. Do I care? Double no. I’m on Team Licia!

The 35-year-old member of the People of Freedom party (a conservative party) was a nurse, then a hospital director, before running for office. She won her seat last year, and now that she’s heard from so many people regarding her baby-toting adventure, she says she’s going to get together with other members of the European parliament to see if they can create legislation to improve the lives of working mothers.

“It was not a political gesture,” she said. “It was first of all a maternal gesture -- that I wanted to stay with my daughter as much as possible, and to remind people that there are women who do not have this opportunity, that we should do something to talk about this.”

She says she won’t make a habit of baby-wearing at the office, and that she’d leave if the baby woke up and started acting more like mine. “If I can bring her, I will,” she said. “If it’s not appropriate, I won’t.”

She’s careful to point out that this decision works for her, but might not work for other moms. For instance, a French member of the European parliament, Rachida Dati, returned to work five days after giving birth. This, Ronzulli says, was her right and her privilege. “A woman should be free to choose to come back after 48 hours. But if she wants to stay at home for six months, or a year, we should create the conditions to make that possible … everyone must decide for themselves.”

Forty-eight hours? I can’t imagine ducking out of an office meeting to take a 15-minute sitzbath! But yeah, Ronzulli’s painting a picture I really would like to see. As I sit in my home office, listening for the telltale sounds of my toddler’s awakening or my newborn’s need to nurse, do I wish I had a little more leeway? I sure do. Do I think it’s my right? Thanks to Licia, I’m starting to believe it is, yes.

Do you think working women deserve more support? Tell us in the comments!

Image via www.LiciaRonzulli.it

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